Can we talk airplane etiquette for just a minute? Honestly, no one is comfortable on an airplane, even the people up towards the front of the plane in those expensive wide seats with their fancy legroom. Not too many travelers are excited about sitting in a tin rocket for five, six, or even 12 hours. We all want to be comfortable, but what does comfort look like? As airlines continue to make seating tighter (believe me, I am 6 feet tall, I could go on for hours about seating) services less and fees more… how do we minimize the mental fallout and just enjoy the idea of arriving at the destination?
A couple of years ago we as a family went to Europe, flying direct from Calgary, Alberta to Zurich. Switzerland, my in-laws were with us on this 12-hour flight. My father-in-law, a smoker since the age of 12 was not so much concerned with the idea of being uncomfortable on the flight as he was with managing the flight without a cigarette. There was not enough Nicorette spray in the world that was going to save him on this one and by the time we landed in Zurich, he was finished, I mean finished. He ran like Usain Bolt to the airport smoking room and sat in that room relishing in the bliss of his cigarette and coffee. At one point mid-flight, he uttered the words to me “it should be illegal to be in an aircraft this long”.
It appears everyone is perhaps a bit more uncomfortable these days because now of the mandatory mask regulation on all aircraft. I personally do not mind it, having experienced it last week when I heard the gentleman behind me sneeze, it was a feeling of gratitude knowing that he had a mask on his face. In speaking with a dear friend who is a flight attendant, it is interesting to me how unconcerned some travelers are with the rules and willing to take the chance of a police intervention on the ground rather than wear a mask. Completely refusing mid-air to don the mask, as if they think because they are in the air, no one can ask them to step outside and have a chat, so they become obstinate. Have you seen the movie Along Came Polly, I mean there are some things we just can’t say and do on a plane.
But what does airplane etiquette look like? Do you take your shoes off, don bare feet, and then place them on the armrest in front of you for comfort? Yes, I remove my shoes, but my feet stay on the floor as I sport my sexy compression socks (20%off now with code TANNIS20 @ https://www.lunatikathletiks.com/), I keep my feet out of sight out of mind. I have seen passengers kick off their shoes and set them on the armrests in front of them, it's gross, just simply put, gross. No one wants your paws in their elbows, nor the feel of setting their arm back and touching someone’s toes, that is just not acceptable.
I wear compression socks because our feet go through quite a bit during flight and I also do not want swollen feet and legs. So, keep your feet in socks or slippers and keep them on the ground. If you need to stretch, get up, go for a walk, and do some isle yoga, or do what I do…. Go to the lavatory and do jumping jacks.
What if you are subjected to the middle seat, who gets the armrest? I feel like the punishment of the person sitting in the middle seat, they at least deserve the armrest.? And for goodness sake, if someone is in the middle seat, do not tilt your seat, these people are already in a terrible place, do not make it worse for them. Grabbing their purse from the floor becomes a game of contortionism, as they attempt to wrap their ankles behind their neck to be able to grab a stick of gum.
What if you are at the window, do you go to the restroom? If you are with your family, it's easy to make the request, then everyone stands, stretches, and perhaps has a chat and uses the facilities themselves because they are up anyway. But what if you are by yourself? And your neighbor is sleeping or has a tray of snacks and crosswords? Do you go?
Let us talk seat reclining. This one will be the death of me I swear. I am 6 feet tall and sometimes I even go so far as to make a connection with the person sitting in front of me and offering them five dollars to not recline their seat as a joke before take-off. I mean, a couple of hours on an airplane… Does that extra half-inch matter? I get it you have paid for your seat; you paid a fortune for your ticket and it is your right to recline. What I am asking you is if you are on the flight under five hours please do not, good lord, please do not. Or make eye contact with eh person behind you, see if they are a giant, see if they are in a leg cast, goodness sake, sneak a peek and have some love for your fellow traveler.
I thought of this post last week when I was sitting on the aircraft and something happened, it has happened before, but I was almost hyper-aware of it at this time. A young child with an iPad watching Paw Patrol. No headphones. Now, as a parent I love a good episode of Fuller House and some Taylor Swift tracks but, this child was sitting in the middle seat with the iPad turned up as loud as it could go watching Paw Patrol. I could hear the show over my headphones that were placed ever so eloquently in my ears.
Parents, please give your children headphones and if you forgot them at home please buy some in the Relay store. In speaking with my flight attendant friend, she mentioned what an unnerving thing this is, and if you ever mention it to a flight attendant or they catch it, they will always tell the guest to turn it off or make them purchase headphones.
In trying not to be the airline rat, I have to say, next time this happens I will say something. What about you, will you?
Respect and understanding on an aircraft is a required trait, and common consideration for the other people on the airplane is necessary. A tip from my flight attendant friend when returning home from your all-inclusive vacation…. Remember please, you are no longer at the swim-up pool bar and this is not 24-hour dial-in room service, It is over, vacation is finished and the aircraft is a means of transportation, not an extension of the resort. Laughing so much when she told me this as I thought about how my kids order their half orange juice half 7-up on the airplane on the way home because it still feels resort-ish.
What are your airplane stories? Let me know, I love a good travel tale.